Erawan National Park
The most famous must-see of the National Park are its waterfalls. The Erawan waterfall is 1,500 m in length and has 7 tiers. On level 7, at the top of the waterfall, the water overflow takes on the shape of an elephant head, which is why it is called the Erawan Waterfall (The Erawan elephant is a 3-headed elephant from Hindu Mythology).
We only made it to level 5, because of the steep climb and the heat, but even then it's still worth the visit. Lots of Thai people come here to have a picknick or swim in the clear waters.
You can get to the Waterfalls by bus from Kanchanaburi Bus Station. It takes about 2 hours to get there.
Walk with Tigers
Everyday at 3:30PM, the Monks of Wat Pa Luang Ta Ma Ha Bua bring out the tigers from their cages and let them walk around in the animal sanctuary. There is a B100 donation to get into this place. There are also other animals freely walking around, horses, cows, peacocks, goats and a hog. We were actually chased by the pig and a goat which turned out to be just following us. Seems he wanted to come home with us. Wonder why? Might he be fed to the tigers the next day? Kidding. We arrived at 1 PM, so the tigers were happily dozing off in their cages. They look well fed and healthy. All other animals roam around freely which is why you have to sign a waiver before you go inside. There is a sweet old man who guards the gate and he will happily explain and give directions in the Wat before you enter. There is a reception area outside the gate, toilet, and ample parking. To get there: travel about 30 kms from the River Kwai Bridge on Hway 323 towards Sai Yok Noi Waterfalls. the Wat is on the right side of the road with a huge sign. You'll know you're there when you see tiger statues milling around the side of the highway. Turn into the dirt road travel about 1 km or so til you reach the gate.
Pretty Waterfalls and Parks
This 550sq kms. park is the most visited national park in Thailand and is one of the most beautiful parks. Once in the park, you will have to walk 2kms from the trail entrance to the end of seven levels of waterfalls (the first step is reached 700 metres from visitors' centre), which feed into the Kwai Yai River. The trails weave in and out of the numerous pools and falls, sometimes running alongside the water, sometimes leading across footbridges. The shape of the topmost fall is said to resemble Erawan, the three headed elephant of Hindu-Buddhist mythology.
The waterfalls here and elsewhere in Kanchanaburi are best visited during the rainy season or in the first two months of the cool season, when the pools are full and the waterfall is most impressive. The peak crowds at Erawan come in mid-April around the time of the Songkran Festival (when there is not much water), weekends can also be crowded. The park is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the admission fee is 25B.
- Theme Park Trips
Watch the Elephants Bathe
Every morning, the elephants come with the Mahouts for their morning bath in the river then a hearty breakfast afterwards. Their "bathroom" was right behind our resort, the Jungle Rafts, so we got to see them go underwater and get their backs scrubbed. After bathing, we also had the chance to feed them breakfast, not your typical pay B20 Baht for a bunch of bananas, but a crate of pineapples, watermelons and other discarded fruits from the resort. The Mahouts were very nice and did not expect any tips or payments for the wonderful experience they shared with us. Although I did give them a tip because I was just too happy that morning.
- Adventure Travel
Taking a shower Erawan Style!!
This was one of the bigger waterfalls that we got to experience at Erawan. And it had some nice cool water flowing over the rocks so we got cooled down without having to deal with those fish tickling our ribs and other body parts! LOL
- National/State Park
- School Holidays
Attempt to walk the Death Railway Trail
Only attempt this if you are staying at Hin Tok River Camp @ Hellfire Pass. The trail is just outside the camp. There are two ways of getting up to the trail. The moment you walk out the camp's main gate, cross the field and over the barbed wire fence. There are bamboo railings that help you go up to the trail. Incidently the trail is where the Death Railway stood before it is torn up after the war.
The other way is to turn left after the main gate, walk along the road and take the first turn right into this banana plantation. You will walk past temple of sorts with a rather large seated Buddha. Climb up the knoll. There are no bamboo railings and it will be tough.
Bring lots of insect repellant but I don't think it will work. Your sweat will wash it all off. It is that tough and makes you realize how these men actually found the courage to go through it in those dark times. The trail is around 4.5km long and will take you through from the Compressor Cutting to Hellfire Pass itself.
The map of the route can be found on the official website of Hin Tok River Camp @Hellfire Pass and this direct link Office of Australian War Graves site. On this map, Hin Tok River Camp is at the lower bend of the curve of Kwai Noi river.
If you are lucky, you may find some war relics. Helmets, broken tools and hopefully not unexploded ordnance. ;>
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
There are many caves to explore in Kanchanaburi.One is Khaow Phoon cave situated on a hill inside a temple .It is not far from Chongkai war cemetery and you can easily get there by longtail boat.It's a bit of a hike up the hill but the view is worth it.
The local kids guided us to the different caves so we gave them a tip .In some of the caves there were Buddha images.These caves were also used by Japanese soldiers as a hospital during Would War II . I was told they used to hide drugs in 'Yah' cave, yah meaning medicine in Thai.The way back was very hot and we were dying of thirst .Luckily there was a small shop selling cold drinks.
Big Chinese Buddha
About half way up the hill going to Khao Phoon cave you will come across this well fed big Buddha statue .From here you can get a good panaranic view of the river and the surrounding area .However, watch your step because you can easily fall down the steep ledge.
"Home" just for you...Tigers.
Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno Forest Monastary is better known to westerners as the "Tiger Temple".We hire a van and driver to take us to Kanchanaburi for a tour of the bridge,cemetery,lunch and then on to the monastary.
To view the tigers you have to get here after 1 pm .We gave a donation of 300 baht each at the main gate before entering .This money goes to feeding all the animals in the monastary.
To see the tigers you have abit of a hike to the "Tiger Cayon". We saw about 12 tigers most of them were asleep or just laying around mostly because of the intense heat .We were all individually led one by one by the staff to sit and take pictures with the tigers .My young niece actually sat on one with no fear.They seemed very tame however don't be fooled. I saw one jump up and had a go at the Luang Por (head monk) who had to push him away with force.This fellow was then taken to the back and chained up.
One of the young American staff then showed us around the monastary .We saw a leopard , tigers and a cub that she said was too dangerous to be let out.She said 'they don't get on well with people" and that cub had already bitten two workers that day.
In the monastary there are also ponies ,goats,wild pigs,peacocks,chickens and cows to be seen.
Old Fashioned Ruins
Muang Singh Historical Park along Route 323 houses some ruins from the early Thai Kingdom that have been partially re-claimed by the jungle. Unlike other areas of Thai ruins, they are not refurbished, so the original brickwork is laid bare. You are able to witness the large bricks that made up the area. And, due to its more remote location on highway 323, there are very few people there. Much fewer than at Sukhothai. So you have more time to explore on your own, feel as if you're an expeditionary archaeologist.
- Castles and Palaces
National Parks - Kanchanaburi
Kanchanaburi contains four major national parks, namely the Sai Yok, Erawan, Chaloem Rattanakosin and Srinagarindra national parks, which can be enjoyed year-round by botanists, ornithologists, and nature lovers alike. Each park offers bungalow accommodation, complemented by rafts and-or camp sites with cold-water and simple toilet facilities. Trekking along either well-defined waterfall trails, or nature trails, to visit cascades, caves, or to appreciate local flora and fauna, is a popular activity at each of the national parks. Three of Kanchanaburi’s most picturesque waterfalls are contained within the Sai Yok, Erawan and Srinagrindra national parks.
Note: Admission to the national park is 200 baht per person. Visitors intending to make overnight stays in the national park should make reservations through the Royal Forestry Department in Bangkok (Tel: 0-2579-5734, 0-2579-7223)
- Budget Travel
- Hiking and Walking
PHRA PATHOM CHEDI
This is the World's tallest Buddhist monument and is located about 58 kms by road from Bangkok.
The 380-foot-chedi dominates the provincial capital of Nakhon Pathom and marks the spot where, it is believed, Buddhism was introduced to the Thailand-to-be more than 2,000 years ago.
This stupa appeared first in this land before any others. (Pathom means first) It is the largest pagoda in the world.
The JEATH War Museum is located on the grounds of this large temple complex. There's a huge statue of a horse pulling some kind of chariot along in the middle of the buildings plus there's the remains of an old temple building opposite this statue.
- Religious Travel
- Historical Travel
Cool off at the Sai Yok Noi Waterfall
On the day we went to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok it was very hot and this place was like a small cool oasis.
Sai Yok Noi is a waterfall in the Sai Yok district of Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand, near the small town Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi. It is the most popular attraction of the Sai Yok National Park for domestic and foreign tourists alike. The immediate vicinity features a Buddhist shrine, a train and section of rail tracks of the Death Railway that once serviced the area, a highway rest stop, and a small market geared toward travellers.
- National/State Park
Riding up the highway
One of the best ways to see the western region of Thailand is via moped. The roads are clean, well-paved and taken care of. Highway 323 has a fascinating array of sights to visit as you wind up north towards the Myanmar border. There are ancient wats, mostly covered by jungle. There are museums and monuments to the POWs that died here in WWII trying to carve a railway through the jungle for the Japanese. There are parks with jungles, monkeys, and waterfalls. It is a beautiful land with limestone cliffs covered in jungle vegetation. Definitely worth the experience, and it gets you to places you don't normally see while traveling around Thailand.
- Adventure Travel
- Historical Travel
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